Chapter 1 : Loco Over Choco
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Author: bohemian vixen aka queen of slytherin
Spoilers: all, especially OotP
Disclaimer: No money-making involved, because the HP universe is not mine, but JKR’s. I just play in her playground.
Summary: Over mugs of hot chocolate, Ginny asks questions and Harry answers.
Harry didn’t want to acknowledge the reason why he kept staring into the Common Room fire. He was hoping he could delude himself into thinking that he simply loved the bright display made by the intertwining red and gold flames.
But he really couldn’t see the fire. Not tonight. Not for the nights since he returned to Hogwarts two weeks ago.
What he was seeing was Sirius’s head popping in, a big roguish grin on his haggard features. But of course, that image was merely a memory, solely formed in Harry’s mind’s eye, because in reality, Sirius wasn’t going back.
Harry leaned against the armchair he was sitting on, feeling quite exhausted. He knew that what he was doing was unhealthy, both in the physical and emotional sense. It was already one in the morning, and the Common Room was empty except for him. He should be sleeping just like everyone else, especially when there were early classes tomorrow, but he didn’t feel like doing so. He preferred to be wide awake and left alone this way.
But he wasn’t left alone for long. The portrait door swung open, and Ginny Weasley, a pitcher in her hand, climbed in.
“Oh, hi, Harry,” she said, looking startled upon seeing him. “I didn’t know you’re still up.”
“Well, I still am,” he said with a shrug as she marched straight to the armchair opposite him. She sat down purposefully and placed the pitcher on the table in between their chairs, much to his dismay. Ginny had every look of someone who intended to hang around for quite a time, and he didn’t want any company.
“Filch almost caught me on my way back here. Thank goodness I was able to run around a corridor or else I’ll have another detention,” she said conversationally.
Felling curious in spite of himself, Harry asked, “What have you been doing?”
She sighed and replied, “Oh, I just got off from detention with Snape. He made me scrub the floors of the Potions classroom ’cause I was late for his class for five minutes. Five lousy minutes!” She wrinkled her nose in great distaste. “He’ll never be fair, that greasy git. Anyway, I went down to the kitchens after to get hot choco. I just love drinking a cup before going to bed. Want some?”
Not waiting for his answer, she cast a spell, and two empty mugs appeared. She poured the hot chocolate into the mugs, filling them to the brim, and handed a cup to Harry.
He reached for it and placed it on the table, not intending to drink it anytime soon.
Ginny frowned a little as she looked at him over the rim of her own mug, from which she was drinking. “C’mon, take a sip. It tastes delicious, and it’ll make you feel a bit better.”
“I don’t need to feel better,” he said defensively.
“I really don’t know why you feel the need to act so proud,” she said with a shake of her head, looking at him sadly.
“I’m not proud.”
“Yes, you are.”
“This conversation is a perfect example that you are,” she retorted, slamming down her mug on the table.
“Oh yeah?” he asked, annoyed.
“Well, you seem to know me better than I do myself, so Miss Weasley, will you please tell me your analysis?”
She flinched a little, but her features were set, and he knew she wasn’t about to back down.
“Hermione told me that you won’t talk to her and Ron since Sirius died, and that you even treat them rather rudely. They’re your friends, you know. They’ve been risking their lives for you, and yet you don’t even have the decency to deal with them in a nice way,” Ginny said, a challenging look in her eyes, as if daring Harry to contradict her. “And don’t give me rubbish about you caring for Sirius more than anyone else, because you’re not the only one who loved him, but you’re the only one who’s acting like prat.”
Harry gritted his teeth. He flinched inwardly at every word she just said because he knew she was telling the truth. He had thought the same things before, and felt guilty, but he had always managed to find excuses for his behavior.
But now…it stung to have these things hurtled right at him in such a blunt manner.
“It hurts because it’s the truth, isn’t it?” Ginny said softly, as if reading his mind.
“I can talk to anyone! I can even talk to you if I choose to!” he said angrily. He wouldn’t let her get away with assuming she knew him.
“If you choose to! But you would not!” she exclaimed, her face unnaturally red. She looked like she would spout steam at any moment.
“I choose to, now. On my honor, I’ll answer honestly, so ask me anything, everything if that makes you happy!” he said heatedly.
Ginny looked insulted for a moment, but her expression quickly changed to that of determination. “First question, why do you push your friends away? And don’t tell me you don’t, because you do.”
Harry could lie, but aside from the fact that he promised on his honor, he also felt too tired to fabricate a story. He briefly wondered if the truth could really set him free.
“I…I don’t know why I do the things I do,” he answered, surprised with what came out of his mouth. It wasn’t what he was planning to say, but he realized, just now, that it was the truth. “I’m not lying.”
Ginny was looking at him closely, and odd expression on her face. “I still have another question. You told me I can you ask anything.”
He sighed in resignation. “Fire away.”
“What brand of shampoo do you recommend for Snape?”
“What?” Harry exclaimed in surprise, not sure if he heard her right.
She just shrugged. “Well, I think the reason why he’s bitter is because he has greasy hair, you know. Maybe if his hair gets all soft and shiny, women will love him, then he’ll be happy and not be such a git,” she said, the corners of her mouth twitching. “Eww, bad mental image. I see Snape snogging with a woman in my head.” Then, without warning, peals of laughter escaped from her.
Harry couldn’t help himself—he burst out laughing as well. The thought of Snape being all lovey-dovey with a woman might not be impossible, but it didn’t make it less hilarious. And the whole suggestion about Snape having soft and shiny hair was funny in itself.
“You’re—you’re—s-so bad, y-you—know,” he managed in between gasps, his sides aching from laughing.
Ginny had calmed down a bit, and was now watching him with a pleased look on her face. “I’m sorry for being so blunt earlier. It’s just that I don’t know how to get through you, and we’re all just worried.” She took a deep breath and added, “It’s so nice to see you laugh again.”
Harry’s laughing fit started to die down, and his breathing was returning to its normal rate. Still gasping a little for breath, he looked around for a glass of water, but found the mug of hot chocolate instead. He grabbed it from the table and downed the contents in one big gulp. Even though the drink was already on the warm side, it indeed tasted delicious with the way it smoothly rolled off his tongue and down his throat.
He set down the mug back again, wiped his lips with the sleeve of his robes, and said, “The hot choco’s really good, and…and it feels nice to laugh again, yeah.” He smiled at Ginny, feeling a surge of gratitude for her.
She smiled back at him. “No problem. “
“Do you still have hot choco?” Harry asked.
She pointed to the pitcher. “Yes, lots and lots of it still in there.”
“You sleepy already?” he asked again.
“Curiously enough, no,” she replied. “Why?”
Harry grabbed the pitcher and both of their empty mugs and poured hot chocolate into them. “Let’s have another round of drinks.”
Ginny sat up straighter on her armchair. “I’d like that, and oh, that means another round of questions, too.”
“Fire away, then.”
“Well, Dad and I watched this popular Muggle show on a display telly when we visited Muggle London, and maybe you can help me out with this one, because I bloody don’t get it. What do you think Miss Piggy and Kermit’s kids would look like??? Would they be frogs with snouts, or pigs with green skin???”
Harry could not remember a time when he had laughed as hard as he did during those so-called dead hours he spent with Ginny, who taught him that laughter was the best medicine.