Harry speared a kipper violently before sticking it onto his already full plate, only to realize that he was not in the least bit hungry. Sighing heavily he put his fork down and propped his head on his hand to gaze dejectedly into his unappealing breakfast. Why did they have to start dating now, Harry complained silently to himself.
“Harry?” He jumped and turned to see Ginny standing over him, her face full of concern. “You all right?”
“Fine.” Harry lied as he went to stare into his meal again.
He felt her hand rest on his shoulder but he did not look up. “They’ve only been together for two days. You just have to give it time and then you three will be close again.”
Anger welled up inside of him. She had no idea what it was like to suddenly lose your two best friends to the broom cupboards all over the school. He had eaten alone for the past two days and he was getting sick of them ignoring him. Harry had tried to be happy for them, after all Ron and Hermione were like family, but he had been stuck in this mire of self-pity instead and it only frustrated him further and his temple began to throb.
Ginny sat down next to him and picked up his fork. This caught his attention and he glanced over at her as she took a bite of eggs from his plate. “It started snowing.” She informed him casually before stealing more of his food.
Harry merely grunted and glared at her.
“Oh and I have signed us all up to stay at Hogwarts for Christmas.” Another bite went into her mouth.
His mind kicked into gear at that. “Why?”
She shrugged. “I heard from Mum saying that we were to stay here this year and behave ourselves. She doesn’t know about Ron and Hermione getting together, of course, or else we would all be home so that she could keep an eye on us.” She looked up quickly at him but her expression was unreadable.
The prospect of several weeks in the empty castle with not even his best friends for company did not sit well with him. The headache that had been slowly developing over the past few minutes, began to ache painfully. “Bloody great.”
“Shut it, Harry. They have to come up for air sometime.” Ginny reached for his glass and took a drink.
“What do you know of it?” He snarled, his foul mood finally spilling over.
Her hand froze and slowly she put his fork down and rested her hands in her lap. She didn’t look at him but he saw with horror that her shoulders shook slightly as she spoke. “You are never alone Harry.”
“Ginny…” he tried to apologize but the words would not come, his headache was lessening but he now felt sick from shame.
Her head snapped up quickly and her warm, brown eyes appeared haunted. “I promise, you are never alone, no matter how much you feel like it.”
He nodded, feeling awkward under her intense stare. “So… who else is staying?”
Ginny’s face softened. “Two third year Ravenclaws. Think of it this way, Harry. At least your two best friends will be here, even if they are attached at the lip.”
Harry groaned. “That was not an image I needed.”
“I know.” She replied, grinning cheekily as she picked up his fork and began to work on finishing off his breakfast for him.
Harry studied her as she ate and butterflies suddenly overtook his stomach. She’s rather cute when she smiles like that.
Ginny walked slowly down the stairs from her dormitory two weeks later. She had no reason to rush, since the winter holidays had just started and her mind had quickly drifted away from her OWL studies to the matters of her friends. Ron and Hermione were still conspicuous, only by their absence and Ginny had hoped that they would have realized sooner that Harry needed them. Her only consolation was they had begun to take meals again at the normal times and would now study with Harry in the evening but now that it was the holidays, she was not sure that they would come out of their self-induced haven of romance to notice anyone around them. Ginny understood why Ron and Hermione were acting the way they were but she was still disappointed in them. She continued to wander aimlessly down the stairs.
Ginny had seen how hard this had been for Harry and knew that while he was no longer angry, he was still prone to sulk and she had promised herself that she would make sure he had plenty to do over the break. A bonus to this is that she would not have to spend the entire break studying because she had nothing better to do. If she was running around with Harry then she could justify skiving off of her studies. Her thoughts often drifted to Harry recently. Do you like him? Right now her honest answer to her self was, I don’t know. She entered the common room and found, to her surprise, that Harry was sitting in front of the fire, by himself. A plan began to form in her mind and she acted before she lost her nerve. “Harry?”
As she had done several weeks ago, she watched him jump before turning to face her. “Hi.” Was the only response that she got before he turned away again.
Ginny’s resolve faltered. Even now, after years of being ignored by him, she was not used to the rejection. She closed her eyes, searching for strength to help her friend and found that she had it in her. Ginny wiped her suddenly sweaty palms on her jeans. She looked over at him, his shoulders slumped and his posture stiff. “Get your cloak.” She ordered in a voice that sounded oddly like her mother’s while she ignored the burning sensation in her eyes. “You are going to walk me out to Hagrid’s for tea.”
“The snow’s taller than you are.” Harry muttered only loud enough for her to barely catch what he had said.
“I know.” Ginny replied honestly. “That’s what happens when it snows for two weeks but Hagrid told me he would clear a path for me.”
“Oh yeah? When did he tell you that?”
Ginny let out a sigh. “Yesterday after dinner now go get your cloak. I need someone tall to help me get there and since my brother is missing in action again, you get to stand in.”
Slowly he stood and without sparing her a glance nor did he speak a word, he went up the boy’s staircase. Ginny ran quickly up to grab her cloak, trying desperately to compose herself as she went. It would not do for him to see her cry. She met him down in the common room two minutes later. Together they walked silently out of the portrait hole and down through the castle to the large oak doors that guarded the school.
When she first saw the level of snow that had fallen, she nearly gave up but true to his word, Hagrid had cleared a path through for her. The only trouble was that he had done so by walking through the snow and there were still snow banks that were up to her waist that she would have to fight through. It was like entering a maze, except there were no alternate routes for them to wander. Ginny looked over at Harry, who was walking through with relative ease. His head was down and his hands were shoved firmly in his pockets but she was not turned off by this gruff manor. She felt her heart warm at knowing that she had made progress, simply by getting him out of the castle.
“OH!” Ginny fell straight through a snow pile and was stuck up to her armpits. Harry stopped and looked back at her and a smile tugged dangerously at his lips. She did not really feel like laughing. She was stuck in the snow and it was quite cold but getting him to laugh would be worth it so she grinned too. “A little help would be nice, you know.” She told him nonchalantly and he chuckled before moving over to hoist her out. She felt a tingle inside and had to hide her self-satisfied grin at having made him laugh. It was a sound that she wanted to hear often.
“When did you get so short?” He finally asked in a panting breath, after they had extricated her from her prison.
Ginny poked his side, although she doubted he felt it through the thick cloak. It felt so nice to have this banter between them. “I got short around the same time you gained the ability to see over all of this snow.”
Harry’s smile met his eyes as he looked down at her. Slowly he held out his hand to her and her breath caught. “Come on, let’s get to Hagrid’s before you get stuck again.”
Harry glanced surreptitiously over at Ginny but turned quickly before she could see. Her bright red hair was reflecting the firelight from Hagrid’s fire and the sight was entrancing. At this thought, his face flushed scarlet.
“More tea?” Harry looked up at his large friend and shook his head. “Ginny?”
“Yes please.” Harry heard the scraping movements and Hagrid moved to pour more for her. “Thank you.”
Her soft voice sent his heart racing. Harry had been in a horrible mood all day long but the quiet presence of his friend had helped him to feel better. He knew that Ginny was only trying to help him out as his friend and he felt terrible for having ignored her earlier when she was trying to be nice. He felt his head turn back towards hers, only to find that she was studying him with an intensity that made his want to squirm in his seat. She gave him a small smile before turning back to Hagrid who had settled himself at the table once more.
“I thought it was thems comin ta see me when I saw you two out there in the snow.” Hagrid said with a small tear in his eye.
“Pardon?” Harry asked in confusion. He had clearly missed part of the conversation.
“Yer parents, of course.” Hagrid explained and Harry felt his brow furrow in confusion. What did his parents have to do with anything?
“I must have missed something.” He looked over at Ginny to see that her face was flushed.
She did not look up from her teacup as she answered. “Hagrid was just saying that we looked like your parents as we walked down from the school.”
Harry’s mind began to race. He had been compared to his father many times but this was different and he was not sure how he felt about it.
“Course Lily was quite a bit taller than ye, Ginny.” He added reminiscently.
Ginny snorted. “That is the story of my life. Everyone is taller than I am.”
Harry felt his temper rise again. He didn’t like it when she insulted herself. “There’s nothing wrong with being short.” He informed her curtly and saw her startled eyes fly up to meet his. He let out his breath slowly, trying to calm himself.
Hagrid had not seemed to hear their side conversation because he went on. “They married right out of Hogwarts and she was so beautiful. Yer father had good taste.”
Harry ignored the punch that Hagrid sent his way even though he knew there would be a bruise on his shoulder. He was watching the pain fill Ginny’s eyes but she turned quickly so Harry only caught a glance of it and his heart sunk. He didn’t ever want to see her hurting. “We should head back to the castle. It’s almost time for lunch and I told Ron and Hermione that we would meet them.”
Ginny nodded and stood. “Thank you for tea Hagrid.”
“Yer welcome, come back ta see me whenever ya likes.”
“Thanks, we will.” Harry moved to the door with Ginny close on his heels. They both bundled up and fought their way out to the snowy path that would take them back up to the castle. The walked in silence until Harry couldn’t take it anymore. His nerves were on edge and he spouted out the first thought that came to his mind. “Hagrid didn’t mean you aren’t beautiful.”
“Mm.” Ginny replied noncommittally. “You have good taste too.”
His step faltered. “What do you mean?”
“Well, I mean Cho is the prettiest girl in her year and you went with Pavarti to the Yule Ball and she is the prettiest girl in your year.” He watched her free herself from a large snow bank. “Only don’t go out with Rosalyn Meyers.”
“Who’s Rosalyn Meyers?” Harry grabbed her arm to keep her from falling again.
“She’s the prettiest girl in my year but not nice at all. She’s really stuck up.” Ginny grinned up at him.
Harry shook his head. He was completely confused by her behavior and the fact that she was rambling on. I don’t mind being compared to my parents but maybe it made her uncomfortable. The thought of having the same type of relationship with Ginny, that his parents had made him blush. Maybe it could be a good thing, he thought. What if she doesn’t want to be compared to my parents that way? He felt a sinking sensation at the possibility and fought for a way to distract himself. “Are you okay?”
“Sure.” She replied airily but she sounded out of breath as she scrambled up onto a packed plateau of snow. She was now almost at his eye level. “Now as long as you don’t see my face, I can pass for your Mum. That was very nice thing for Hagrid to say.”
Harry moved over to her and studied her face. “I didn’t mind him saying it. I get told that I look like my Dad all the time but this was the first time anyone compared you to my Mum.”
Ginny shrugged and held out a hand so he could help her step down. “That’s because I don’t look like your Mum, really. We just have the same hair color.” She began to walk back up to the castle but stopped and turned back to him. “She really was quite beautiful, Harry.”
“Thank you.” He responded quietly. You’re beautiful, was the only thought running through his head as his palms began to sweat.
“Wake up, Ginny.” Ginny opened her eyes to see her best friend’s smiling face.
“Happy Christmas Hermione.” Ginny yawned and stretched.
Hermione tugged at her hand. “Come on. Let’s go wake up the boys.”
Ginny quickly threw on her old dressing gown and together they went down the girl’s stairs and back up the boys, stopping once they had reached the sixth year boy’s dormitory. Hermione pushed the door open softly and they moved in to hear the snores coming from Ron’s bed. Harry’s side was perfectly quiet. Hermione pointed her finger towards Harry and winked at Ginny before moving over to her boyfriend.
Her stomach churned as she walked softly over to his bed and carefully moved the curtains on his four-poster so as not to startle him. His face was relaxed in sleep and a smile tugged at her lips while warmth filled her heart. Over the last few weeks, the heat had been there whenever she was near him. She reached out a hand to gently shake his shoulder and she felt herself begin to blush.
His eyes fluttered open. “Ginny?”
She beamed down at him as she handed him his glasses. I wish I could kiss you awake every morning, her mind screamed but she couldn’t ever say that out loud. “Happy Christmas, Harry.”
Harry sipped happily at his hot cocoa as he played a game of chess with Ron. They had been together all day, with Hermione and Ginny and for the first time in weeks, Harry felt like he was finally reconnecting with his two best friends.
He looked over as Hermione came to sit with them. “Where’s Ginny?” He looked around and noticed that she was gone.
Hermione raised an eyebrow. “She decided that we needed time to ourselves and I could not convince her otherwise. She is up in her dorm.”
“Time to ourselves?” Harry felt his breath catch and his heart seemed to skip a beat. Something wasn’t right.
“Yes.” Hermione bit her lip. “She thought that the three of us would want to be together without her.”
Ron looked up from the board. “Why would she think that?”
Harry ran a hand through his hair, not really noticing that his hand was shaking. “Can’t you go up and get her?” He asked her quickly.
Hermione threw her hands up. “I tried Harry.” She paused and cocked her head to one side. “Maybe you should give it a go.”
“I can’t get up the stairs.” He reminded her.
“Yes but you can fly.” She told him softly and Harry felt his heart leap. Instantly he was out of his seat and racing upstairs for his Firebolt, taking the steps two at a time. He went sliding under his bed to retrieve it and almost tripped in his haste to get back on his feet. He ran down the stairs and mounted his broom to fly up the steps, towards Ginny. He didn’t even stop to speak to Ron or Hermione. He flew up the stairs and stopped to hover in front of the fifth year dormitory before he reached down to turn the handle and push it in. He flew in, dismounted and set his broom aside before looking over to see Ginny sitting on her bed. His throat closed up as he studied her.
Her face was shocked but he could see that she had recently been crying, while hugging her pillow. His heart broke at the sight of her tear stained face.
“Why are you up here by yourself?”
She shrugged and pulled the pillow in closer. “You three seemed to be having fun and I wanted you to have time with your best friends.”
Frustration welled up inside of him and he moved purposefully over to her bed before sitting down on the edge, facing her. Why doesn’t she see what she means to me? “You’re my friend.”
“You’ve missed them.” She pointed out with a small stutter; her eyes were puffy and red.
“Yes, but…” he searched for a way to explain how he felt. “You were there for me when they weren’t.”
Another tear slid down her face. “You don’t need me now. I’ve never been a part of your group and now that they are back, you don’t need me.”
“Yes I do!” Harry exclaimed as he reached out for her hand. “Maybe right now you need me so that you won’t ever be alone.”
Hope sprang into her eyes. “You mean that?” She asked him softly.
He nodded, heartened at seeing her face light up. “Do you want to come down now and be with us?”
“I… I’m a mess right now. Give me a few minutes to freshen up and I’ll be down.” She squeezed his hand before tossing her pillow aside and standing. Harry got up with her as well. She began to move off towards the loo when she stopped and turned. She smiled and gave him a swift hug that left him feeling lightheaded. “Thank you Harry.”
“I should be the one thanking you.” He whispered into her hair, as he held on tight. His one thought was, I could get used to this.
Meet me in the Room of Requirement tonight at 8:00pm –Ginny.
“That should do it.” Ginny smiled to herself as she rolled up the parchment several weeks later. She and Harry had hardly seen each other since school had started again and she was missing her newest friend. She tried to ignore the way her heart leapt as she sealed the scroll. She was starting to fear that her long dead crush was beginning to resurrect itself and while she liked Harry very much, she wanted his friendship too much to jeopardize it by admitting her feelings to him. I can’t lose him now, she thought belatedly.
“Hedwig?” Ginny called up to the snowy owl who flew down to her shoulder and stuck out her leg. Ginny tied on the scroll and patted the beautiful owl’s head. “Thank you for taking this to him, I really appreciate it.”
Hedwig nipped at her ear affectionately before taking off out of a window. Ginny watched her go with trepidation. She ran a trembling hand through her long, thick hair. She was pretty sure that Harry would come but she would be extremely embarrassing if he didn’t come; a slow flush began to creep up her neck. Did I do the right thing? Well, it’s too late now. With one final look at the retreating owls, she went off to her first class.
Harry slowly opened the door to the Room of Requirement and stopped when he saw the room. Slow music was playing and she waited for him on what appeared to be a dance floor. She had changed from her school robes into a long, flowing skirt and his breath caught. She was quite beautiful, standing there and he could see that her face was tense, as if she were nervous.
“What’s all this?” He came into the room and shut the door. His voice had shook as he spoke and he didn’t want her to realize the affect she was having on him. Why does she have to be so wonderful when I’ve been a selfish prat for the past several years?
She smiled then, a radiant smile, and his stomach gave a small lurch. “I’m going to teach you to dance.” She moved towards him and held out her hand.
Harry moved quickly towards her and then stopped just off the dance floor. “Why?” His brow furrowed in confusion.
Her melodious laughter filled the small room and her eyes sparkled in the brightly lit room. “I wanted to take a break and we haven’t seen each other much. Plus, you really should learn to dance.”
His heart began to race at her laughter and he took her hand and she pulled him to the center before instructing him on how to slow dance. It felt amazing to have her in his arms and his face flushed in pleasure when she rested her head against his chest. “Why do I need to learn to dance?”
“Mm?” She looked up at him for a moment before answering. “Well, you’ll be expected to dance at Ron and Hermione’s wedding.”
He tripped and would have fallen if she hadn’t caught him. Butterflies filled his stomach at the thought. “You… you think they’ll get married, then?” The idea of them marrying had never even occurred to him but he supposed it wouldn’t be a bad thing.
She nodded bemusedly. “Of course they will. They were meant to be together.”
“How do you know?” He asked as they start to move again.
“I dunno… I guess I just know.” Her answered seemed stifled and he felt her hands shake slightly as they moved over his shoulders. “You might also have to go to another Ball someday.”
Harry groaned. “I hope I don’t.”
“You might get married.” She said softly, almost tentatively.
He shook his head. “That won’t be for a long time.”
“You don’t know that. Hagrid said your parents were married right out of Hogwarts.”
His step faltered; that was only a year and a half away for him. “Right.” He mumbled. “Still, I don’t have any prospects right now.” He informed her dejectedly.
“That’s true.” She agreed with a small chuckle. “So there aren’t any girls that you want to go off and snog?”
The first thought that popped into his head was that he wanted to kiss her but he dismissed it immediately. She doesn’t want me anymore, he reflected, but I wish she did; she is amazing. Not wanting to lie, he only shrugged.
Ginny stopped their movements and studied him. “So you don’t fancy anyone?”
His mind began to race. Part of him realized that if he wanted to kiss Ginny that he obviously had to fancy her but he really didn’t want to admit it. He looked down into her beautiful, brown eyes and felt lost for a moment. He only answered when he realized she was waiting expectantly for him to say something. “I might… fancy someone.” He tried to make his answer as evasive as possible.
“Oh.” She looked off for a moment. “So you don’t want to tell me who then?”
“It doesn’t matter.” Harry assured her quickly. “We’re just… friends.”
Her body stilled and she turned her head slowly back to face him. “Sometimes the best relationships start as friendships. Ron and Hermione are best friends and look at how well they’ve worked out.” She licked her lips before speaking again. “Are you and this girl good friends?”
His heart slammed against his chest and he was sure she would be able to hear it. “Yes.” He finally squeaked out.
She nodded, her eyes gleamed with hope and another emotion that he could not name. Ginny slowly moved her hand to the back of his neck, never taking her brown eyes away from his. “The boy I fancy is a good friend of mine as well.”
His mouth went dry. “Really?”
“Uhhuh.” Her other hand went up to his neck as she beamed up at him, her eyes smoldering.
Suddenly he knew for certain what she was saying to him. He took a deep breath and jumped head first into his next sentence. “My friend… she made sure that I never felt alone.” His heart raced as he spoke the words out loud.
Ginny closed her eyes and a secret smile played across her lips, lips that he so desperately wanted to kiss. “Mine too,” was her velvety reply.
Her eyes opened and she moved and step closer but Harry needed no further encouragement. He bent his head and tenderly kissed her waiting lips. The moment seemed to last forever but when it was over, Harry was wishing that it could have gone on longer. He wasn’t sure he would ever get enough of her and he smiled at the thought.
“I’ll always be here for you.” She whispered against his mouth and he smiled before kissing her again.
Harry pulled her into a hug, inhaling the sent that only belonged to her. He reached up and slowly tangled his hand in the hair at the base of her neck. “I promise, Ginny. Never again will you be alone.”
A/N: Thanks to wvchemteach for your help and support!!!